Reflecting on Your Term

Posted by Deea Deb on March 22, 2022

Academic Success | Student Life

Image of a man sitting on a deck and looking out into the waters with the text "Reflecting on your term."

Hey Lions! We’re almost through the finish line of this term and I know we are all excited about the summer. However, for us to do better in upcoming terms it is a good idea to reflect upon the past term and understand where you are at and how you can improve, what worked and what didn’t, and what goals you can set for yourself in the future. It is not always easy to come up with reflection prompts that’ll help you gain insight into your term. To start you off and to give you some inspiration, Alicia and I have compiled our list of reflection prompts to share with you. Remember that each of us is different and so these prompts may not be perfect for you. Consider this as a jumping-off point to creating your own questions! With that in mind, here are some end-of-term reflections that’ll help you succeed!

We recommend starting with easier questions related to your life.

Were you able to make time for yourself?

Image of a person using calming essential oils.
Prioritize your health and wellness!

If you were not at the top of your mental and physical health, everything else would have been impacted. Closely evaluate how much time you spent on yourself, doing things that you like, exercising, or just taking a break. Ask yourself:

  • Did I take enough breaks or have time for self-care? If yes, why? If not, why?
  • Was the workload too much, too little, or just right? Did I procrastinate? If yes, why? If no, why?

Sometimes it is difficult to take breaks or rest if the workload is too much. This information will help you understand the effectiveness of your schedule, and if you’re going at a pace that works for you. With many obligations, it can get tricky trying to balance everything. However, if your workload increased because you procrastinated, it’s likely not your schedule’s fault. Reflecting on what made you procrastinate may provide you insightful information about yourself and how to avoid it.

Those of you who didn’t procrastinate (kudos to you!) may think that asking why not, maybe redundant. It’s not. Asking why not will reinforce the good habits that you applied. It always feels good to know you did well!

Success tip: Use your findings to tweak your schedule. Make sure you Prioritize Your Mental Health This New Year. Not sure how to create an effective schedule? Here are Five Mistakes You Make While Planning Your Day.

How much time did you spend on coursework?

Image of a woman working on a desktop computer
Observing the time you spend on coursework can help you reassess your time!

I often lose track of time when reading or doing assignments. If you are like me, understanding the time spent on coursework will help you schedule study and assignment sessions more effectively. Ask yourself:

  • How much time did it take me to complete weekly readings and assignments?

Success tip: If you are spending an extraordinarily long time completing your assignments, or haven’t understood the assignment, you may be approaching it wrong. It may be a good idea to reach out to your instructor and ask for their guidance.

Once you’ve found answers to the above questions, move on to high-level questions about your courses and programs.

Did your courses help you?

Image of a girl sitting between stacks in a library and reading a book
What kind of courses are you interested in?

This section will be related to your program. It is important to understand whether the courses that you’ve taken through the term have helped you achieve what you wanted to. Make sure to review each of your courses separately. Ask yourself:

  • What did I enjoy about the course? What did I dislike about the course? Do I feel like I learned something new from that course?
  • Did I enjoy the instructor’s teaching style? If yes, why? If not, why?
  • Did my notes make my learning more efficient during exam season? Did they help me retain information? If yes, why? If not, why?

These questions will help you figure out what kind of courses you typically enjoy. You can then evaluate what courses you want to take in the future. Your preferences will change with each year as you grow at university.

Understanding what type of instructors/teaching styles suit you best will help you adapt your learning processes.

Note-taking is a part of university life, but not everyone takes effective notes. The thing is that note-taking is unique to every student (or it should be) because each of us learns differently. Understanding your note-taking process can be beneficial and you don’t want to keep making the same mistakes and wasting your time. Remember that this process will vary from course to course.

Success tip: Here are some Reading, Note-taking, and Study Strategies that Every University Student Must Know! (You can thank me later!)

Are you still interested in your program(s)?

Image of a man reading a book
How do you feel about your program?

Every program has its pros and cons, as do courses, and instructors. Therefore, we often end up not enjoying some courses and totally loving others. It is a good idea to keep a track of how you feel about your program. Ask yourself:

  • What do I like most about my program? What could be better? Am I in the right program?

Success tip: If you are unsure about how you feel about your program, speak with your Academic Advisor and they can help you settle your mind. If you think that changing your program is the best course of action for you, review the program change website, and then book an appointment with your Advisor to clarify any doubts.

Your university experience can be very different if you are involved in different things in your program or on campus.

How involved were you at university?

Image of three people sitting at a desk and working together
Getting involved in the York community is a super rewarding experience!

Getting involved in sports, student clubs, student government, volunteering activities, and on-campus jobs can be immensely educational and rewarding. Ask yourself:

  • How involved am I on campus/at university? How many co- or extra-curricular activities did I participate in in the last term?

If you have a heavy course load, it may seem impossible to make time for anything else. Usually, we do have spare time, but we don’t realize it because we don’t track our time.

Success tip: Use the Time Tracking and Does Your use of Time Reflect Your Priorities? worksheets by Learning Skills Services to understand where your time is going and if they reflect your priorities.

Now that you have all your reflections, it is time to ask yourself:

  • What would I like to do differently this time? Why?

Use your reflections as a starting point to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals for the next term.

Success tip: Don’t just stop at setting goals. It is also important to instill habits that will help you achieve your goals. James Clear’s Atomic Habits is a great resource to learn how to inculcate positive habits. Don’t forget to check out James Clear’s website where he shares tons of free resources on creativity, decision making, focus, habits, motivation, productivity and more!

Sound boring? Get creative and make a vision board with images of what you want to work towards (Pinterest is a great space for inspiration!).

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a third-year English and Professional Writing major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and writing. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

See other posts by Deea Deb